Find out how much it costs to travel to Bonito. This post details estimated expenses with accommodation, food, tours, and transportation, using real examples from my trip!
Before going to Bonito I’d heard a few times that the city was expensive. This is partly true, and partly false. The truth part is that Bonito is an extremely organized ecotourism destination that follows high standards of maintenance and preservation of its natural beauty. Having a visitor limit at attractions, a premium infrastructure of sterile materials and certified professional guides, among other requirements, comes at a cost – and it’s high.
The false part is that your spending in Bonito will always be high, and there´s no way around it. There is. Your spending will depend a lot on the tours you choose to do and the time of year you visit (high or low season… during holidays, like the Carnival, prices can double), but mainly on your travel style.
The more tours you take, the more expensive the trip. It’s easy to plan how much the tours will cost because all prices are fixed, and there are tours going from R$30 to R$1,290 there – the most expensive one is the Anhumas Abyss, as it requires a more sophisticated structure and involves many security issues, both for the visitor and the preservation of the cave. The more renowned restaurants, the more expensive the trip. The more comfort in hotels, the more expensive the trip … and so it goes.
The good news is that tour prices in Bonito are fixed so it’s easy to estimate how much you’ll spend on your trip before you decide to go!
As I said before, traveling during the high season, holidays or end-of-year celebrations can cost you a lot more than going in the low season. High season usually includes Carnival, long weekends and Brazilian holidays, Christmas and New Year, and January and July holidays, which are school vacations in Brazil (you can check here Bonito’s 2018 high season calendar, all days not included in the table are considered low season).
Our trip took place from November 30th to December 7th (7 days).
That said, instead of just giving you a random number I’ll lead you through my spending sheet and scrutinize it in detail, as I wrote down absolutely all our spendings on this trip to Bonito. It’s worth pointing out that I made a very complete trip, without leaving out any tour or restaurant I wanted to visit behind. Since I didn’t withhold anything, I believe a trip to Bonito can easily cost less than mine, but I will explain everything in detail and with examples throughout this post, and in the end, I’ll do three expense simulations for three types of trips with different profiles.
*The lodging, restaurant, car, and gasoline expenses are for the couple, while the expenses for the tours are for one person (for two in the final spreadsheet)!
How much do the tours in Bonito cost?
I’ll put the cost of the 11 tours we did during the low season (some tours charge different values for low and high season, and others stay the same all year round). Please note that on some tours we choose to have lunch included, which usually happens at the attraction reception (sort of like the main building in a farm) in an all-you-can-eat style with pretty good food (drinks not included). Not all tours offer this option, but most snorkeling tours and waterfalls do.
Balneário Municipal: R$30,00
Gruta do Lago Azul: R$50,00
Gruta de São Miguel: R$50,00
Buraco das Araras: R$75,00
Bóia Cross Bonito Aventura: R$84,00
Estância Mimosa’s Trails and Waterfalls (with lunch): R$159,00
Snorkeling at Rio Sucuri’s spring (no lunch): R$184,00
Snorkeling at Aquário Natural (no lunch): R$205,70
Boca da Onça’s Trails and Waterfalls (with lunch): R$230,00
Snorkeling at Rio da Prata (with lunch): R$240,00
Anhumas Abyss (rappel+snorkeling+boat ride inside the cave): R$910,00
*cost of tours for one adult during low season.
The total cost with tours for ONE adult person was R$2,217.70, including the Anhumas Abyss tour. Note that without this tour, the total would be R$1,307.70 and so, considerably cheaper. The tour is amazing, and you should take it if you can as it’s worth every penny, being a very unique experience. But skipping it may be a viable option for those who don’t want to spend a lot (and we can all agree that Bonito has other wonderful tours as well, so you won’t even miss this one).
How much does it cost to eat and drink in Bonito?
As I said, on this trip I did everything I wanted and there was no deprivation when choosing where to eat. What happened is that on some nights we were still satisfied with our lunch and skipped dinner, or just had ice cream, pastries or an appetizer at the bar.
Below is a list of all our food expenses in Bonito’s restaurants and bars.
Casa do João: R$136,00 (fish for two, with beer)
Juanita: R$134,50 (fish for two, with beer)
Tapera: R$86,90 (fish for one person and juice, and water – dessert included for customers)
Sale e Pepe: R$67,65 (fish for one person and beer, of course)
Santa Esmeralda Hotel’s Restaurant: R$112,20 (fish for two, juice and water)
Pastel Bonito: R$70,00 (3 pastéis, a typical Brazilian snack, with one from alligator and yet another beer… lol)
La Bonita Bar: R$92,00 (pizza and Devassa beers)
Taboa Bar: R$91,95 (Taboa beer, two Taboa cachaças and an appetizer serving of beef jerky and fried cassava)
Ice cream at Allegra: R$25,00 (a small and a medium ice cream)
Delícias do Cerrado Ice cream: R$9,00 (about two scopes of ice cream per kilo)
*final bill amount for an adult couple (in this case a man and a woman-
not that it changes much because I eat almost the same amount…haha).
It’s worth mentioning that it’s very possible to spend less on food than we did. We went to the recommended and most famous restaurants, which are the most expensive ones. We always ordered beer and fish instead of something simpler. And we rarely bought our lunch or dinner at the market or in simpler and/or out of the city center restaurants. So this is also an expense that may be lower depending on your choices and expectations for the trip.
Oh, and it also took us a long time to learn that fish for “two people” fed a whole family or three adults quite nicely (this happened in most restaurants).
Besides, we had expenses with water (around R$50,00 for the couple buying mostly in supermarkets and some bottles at the attractions) and snacks for the tours (apricot and crackers, totaling around 30 reais.. the apricot was the most expensive item).
How much does accommodation in Bonito cost?
Look, this always depends on your lodging choices. You can stay in a shared room in a hostel or in a secluded hotel that is part of the Roteiros de Charme (a prestigious national hotel association aiming to select, in their own words, ‘hôtellerie that combines quality of service and social and ethical responsibility). So we did some research on booking.com and on the websites for the hotels and hostels to give real price examples in four hotel price categories, and help quantify this expense.
$ – HI Hostel: R$43,00 for a bed in a 6 person dormitory or R$ 115,00 for a double room; Che Lagarto: R$139,00 double room or R$179 the quadruple one; CLH Suites: R$179,00 double room.
$$ – Hotel Pira Miúna: R$249,00; Wetiga Hotel: R$283,00.
$$$ – Águas de Bonito: R$440,00; Chalé do Bosque: R$365,oo; Pousada Arte da Natureza: R$330,00.
$$$$ – Pousada Boyrá: R$490,00 (dinner included); Hotel Santa Esmeralda: R$670,00 (dinner included).
These are the prices of full rates in January 2019 (there are good discounts on booking.com!). It’s worth mentioning that hotel prices increase during the high season and may even double during the Reveillon (New Year) or the Carnival.
We stayed in two hotels, the Pousada Águas de Bonito Hotel and the Chalé do Bosque hotel. We highly recommend both! Águas de Bonito is perfect for families and people looking for a resort structure but with an inn charm. Chalé do Bosque is ideal for couples who want a quiet time (don’t go with children).
As I said before (and I’ll say it again) keep an eye out on Booking.com because there are always offers and discounts over there, and the rates may be cheaper than the normal hotel rates (that’s what happened to us at Chalé do Bosque, where we paid R$310 per night instead of R$365).
*We stayed at the Águas de Bonito Hotel by their invitation, but as always we give our real opinion here
and we only accept invitations from hotels that would normally be our choices.
How much does it cost to get to Bonito and move around there?
Let’s consider that your arrival will be by plane to Campo Grande and then by car to Bonito. You will also use this same car to go to the tours when in Bonito, so you won’t have to spend money on the transfers sold at the agencies, only with gasoline. That’s what we did (it’s also possible to fly to Bonito and hire transfers for the tours, but we prefer to have the freedom of a car and pay less on the airfare to the capital of MS, Campo Grande – flying to Bonito is usually more expensive).
Air ticket: In our case, we bought air tickets with our miles, but the flights usually cost from 250 to 400 reais from São Paulo, and from 350 to 500 reais from Rio de Janeiro (round trip for one person). If you find a ticket for less than 300 reais, be sure to buy it as it’s at a very good price!
Car and gas: We rented a car for 9 days for R$627,00. I didn’t book the car too much in advance, only 10 days before the trip, trough Rental Cars which had the best prices I found. If you’re more organized, you might still be able to pay a little less by booking months in advance. We fueled three times during the trip, and the condition of the rental was to deliver the car with a full tank. We spent R$460.00 on gas.
After all, how much does it cost to travel to Bonito? Our expenses, and two simulations.
In the case of our trip: 7 nights, 11 tours, several excellent restaurants, car rental, gasoline and plane ticket, the trip is around R$4,700.00 per person, or R$9,400.0 for the couple. This is the expense with ALL included (ticket, hotels, etc). Actually, I spent a little less than that because I used miles to buy airline tickets and stayed at the Águas de Bonito hotel by their own invitation, but I’ve already included these two expenses in the calculations above, so:
Super complete trip, entitled to everything included for 7 nights during low season: R$9,400.00 (couple)
For those who want to reduce spending, one of the most expressive items to cut is the tour to the Anhumas Abyss (only this is already R$ 1,820 less for the couple). Another tip to lower the cost is to stay fewer nights (I’d return happy from the trip if I had 6 nights, and even 5 nights I think would be enough to take the main tours, in a tighter schedule but still not leaving out anything of interest). Finally, you can choose to go to simpler restaurants or eat less (as I said, a fish for one is a great size, and we often asked for a one that was too big). For this trip, I wouldn’t cut the car rental at all because I found it really practical.
Making a simulation of spending on a shorter trip, but without losing almost anything in quality you can easily spend R$2400.00 for tours for the couple, R$1800.00 for accommodations in great hotels, R$1000.00 car rental + gas, R$600 air ticket for two people and somewhere around R$700 for the couple’s meals. Getting to a total of R$6.500 for the couple.
Very good and comfortable trip for 6 nights: R$6.500,00 (couple)
And of course, you can go to Bonito, take fewer tours, stay at a hostel, eat a snack or a sandwich at night from the market, or even a cheaper meal in one of the many restaurants there, and it’ll be very possible to spend around R$ 5,000.00 for the couple.
Economic trip can cost less than R$5.000,00 (couple)
As I said at the beginning of the post, it all depends on your choices and the travel style you want to have. I hope this post helped you get an idea of how much it costs to travel to Bonito, Brazil, and that it answered some questions. If you still have any, don’t be shy and write a comment below and we’ll answer you.
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)